Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

Tom and Jonathan stand in front of the F-14 Tomcat in at...

This is the view as you enter the museum.

Jonathan sits in the cockpit of one of the Blue Angel planes.

Jonathan sits in the cockpit of a A-4 Skyhawk.

Tom and Deb stand at the railing overlooking the main part of...

Gabriel, Elias and Jonathan check out an F-14 cockpit.

Jonathan sits in the front cockpit of the F-14.

A close up of the Top Gun.

A pilot of the future.

Julian flies this plane.

Jonathan and Elias fly the Cobra helicopter.

Jonathan poses by the F-4 Phantom.

Ah, here we go. The cockpit of a Blue Angel. An F-18.

Tom and Jonathan check out the after burner section of this plane.

This plane operates from the USS Hancock aircraft carrier.

Tom and Jonathan participated in the Aircraft Combat Simulation. Top Gun!

Tom gets ready for take off.

Jonathan gets ready for take-off too!

This picture was taken as they were completing the mission.

They've landed and are taking their gear off getting ready to get...

Mission accomplished!

Deb watches Jonathan as he explains that these were the kind of...

Walking through the remainder of the planes on display.

Jonathan stands by a replica of the "Little Boy" bomb that was...

Jonathan climbs on an anchor like it's a playground.

Different pose.

Thumbs up.

This lighthouse was on the base.

This was the view as we headed back toward the bridge. Very...

The sun is going down on a great day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Trip to Naval Aviation Museum with Thorsteds

We got up at 7:30 this morning so we could be ready to go by 9:00. Thorsteds came by the RV at 9:00 to pick us up. Tom was having second thoughts at one point. I think he was just wanting a day to relax on one hand but kept thinking of things around the RV that needed to be done too. He opted for the museum though.

The drive over was about two hours. Jonathan rode in the car with Mike, Liz and the boys while we followed. I was amazed at all the stores, restaurants, resorts and other attractions. I tend to expect places to be more quiet and rustic and then am always blown away by how commercialized they really are. When we got to the museum, we went to get tickets right away for the Imax film, Top Gun Fighters and the Blue Angels simulator. Those were both fun. We walked around looking at all the planes while the boys climbed into the cockpits and tried them all out. We all started getting hungry abou this time so we had lunch at the Cubi Bar Cafe.

There were all kinds of exhibits throughout the museum. Displays included Space, WWI, WWII South Pacific, a P.O.W. Exhibit, and a Top Gun Air Combat Simulator. Tom and Jonathan both looked interested in this so we decided to go for it. They had to "do training" so while they were completing that, I hung out with the Thorsteds for a little while. When they decided to head out, I walked out to the car with them to get Jonathan's video game so he could play it on the way home then got back to the "training station." Tom and Jonathan had just started their flight so I was able to watch the whole thing on the computer screen. Their mission ended with three landings on an aircraft carrier. The third one was in the dark. Tom said Jonathan did all those by himself. Good job Boyo!

We left the museum around 5:30 and headed home. We warmed up last night's pizza for dinner then tried to get in touch with Thorsteds. I had a couple of books I had borrowed that I wanted to be sure to return to them and then Jonathan wanted to say good-bye to the boys. We went over for a little while then came back and got ready for bed.

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